The 1795 Acorn Inn, nestled in the Bristol Mountains of upstate New York’s Finger Lakes, received it’s 18th consecutive AAA Four Diamond Award for 2014. It’s sure is sweet to have your hard work recognized. Guests do it most every day and this is always the icing on the cake.
On Feb. 8 come experience “Vintage Vines & Valentines”, an old-world celebration of love and friendship in the historic Finger Lakes Valley of Naples, NY. The event features several local businesses that are offering everything from free tastings to meal discounts! For more details and directions visit www.facebook.com/VintageVinesValentines
More than 200 artisans showcase their work at Artizanns in Naples. Stop by and pick out that special gift so you’ll always remember your visit to the Finger Lakes. Artizanns, 118 North Main Street, Naples. 585-374-6740.
Looking to find your next favorite beer? Stop by Ontario County’s newest nano-brewery. The Victor Brewery is now open and serving up some of the finest beverages around! For all you beer lovers out there, the Victor Brewery is located at 6606 State Route 96 in Victor, NY. For more info visit www.thevbbrewery.com or call at 585-902-8166. Cheers!
Shop for one-of-a-kind items at the Canandaigua Classic Antique Show and Sale where more than 40 quality antique dealers will be showing their wares. Feb. 9 from 9am – 4pm. Admission is $6. Finger Lakes Gaming and Race Track, 5857 Route 96, Farmington. 585-394-1472.
Celebrate wonderful Finger Lakes ice wines this winter. The New York Ice Wine Festival on Feb. 15 from 11am-6pm at Casa Larga Vineyards will be full of Finger Lakes wine, food and fun! Come enjoy, tastings, live entertainment and seminars! For more details visit www.casalarga.com.
Get out for a day of winter fun…and while you’re at it, learn about our area’s history! The Native American Winter Games features a snowsnake game, dogsled run demos, snowshoeing, Native American stories & refreshments. Saturday, Feb. 22, 10am – 4pm.Victor Municipal Park, 1278 Brace Rd, Victor. 585-924-5848. www.ganondagan.org
Step inside from the cold this winter at Finger Lakes Gifts and Lounge, offering the finest locally sourced gifts, edible treats and beverages from the area. Stop in on your next trip to historic downtown Geneva and check it out! 60 Seneca Street, Geneva, NY 14456 315-759-5247
Bring the whole family to cross-country ski on 15 miles of groomed trails, or snowshoe on a 3-mile loop at Cumming Nature Center. Nordic Hot Dog Days starts on Feb. 22 and 23 from 11:30am – 2:30pm. Visitors can also enjoy hot dogs, chili, cookies, brownies and hot cider! Cumming Nature Center, 6472 Gulick Road, Naples. 585-374-6160.
Plenty of that white, fluffy stuff falling this weekend. I think it’s the fluffiest and lightest snow I’ve ever seen. And, it’s very sparkly. Come visit the 1795 Acorn Inn Bed & Breakfast. Bristol Mountain is just down the road. Many of the trails are open, including the cross country trail at the top of the mountain. The skiing should be fantastic. We’ve got Ski Packages and our Free Night Package. Check out our Packages page for more information. See you soon.
Festivals abound in Lake Country! From arts to music to Native American culture – there’s something for everyone! Fat Tire Mountain Bike Festival July 21, Native American Dance & Music Festival, July 27-28; Waterfront Arts Festival, July 27-28; Log onto our website, www.VisitFingerLakes.com, and click Events, or call the FLVC office for details. 585-394-3915.
Bristol Valley Theatre summer schedule is in full swing! Head down to Naples, NY and catch a show! For more on all of the great shows offered visit . If you are after that perfect Finger Lakes gift, slip into Artizanns right on Main St. just before the theatre! Artizanns and Bristol Valley Theatre are located in Naples, NY.
Looking to get out on the water and escape the heat? Head over to Canandaigua Sailboarding and rent your personal watercraft of choice! If you are the adventurous type be sure to try stand-up paddleboarding and take the waves head on! Canandaigua Sailboarding, 11 Lakeshore Dr., Canandaigua, NY 14424 585- 394-8150.
The summer feeling is in the air! That means it’s the perfect time to throw on those hiking boots and get out on the trails. Visit the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection for your free hiking and biking kit. Be sure to check out the waterfalls at Grimes Glen located in Naples, NY – Warning: you will get wet! To pick up a kit, visit our office at 25 Gorham St in Canandaigua NY or call 585-394-3915.
Come experience what the locals are buzzing about at Canandaigua’s newest addition to its restaurant lineup – the Beehive Brew Pub! Featuring over 32 different micro beers and serving up the finest pub fare! So whether it’s lunch or dinner, buzz over and check it out! Open daily. 20 Pleasant Street, Canandaigua 585-919-2471.
On July 26 Geneva’s Cruisin’ Night and Block Party is an event you won’t want to miss if you like “travel- ing down Memory Lane”. The day features classic cars, trucks and motorcycles. Adding to the excitement of the day is live music, food and activities for children. Downtown, Geneva NY.
If you are visiting the north shores of Seneca Lake swing by Geneva’s newest restaurant, the Seneca Brew and Smokehouse. Serving up a diverse menu ranging from wood fired pizzas, specialty sandwiches and full-on entrees! If you’re thirsty, be sure to catch a Finger Lakes made speciality! Open 7 days a week, 5-9pm 4516 West Lake Road, Geneva, NY.
Get to the Ontario County Fairgrounds between July 23-27 for some fun. There’s plenty to do at the Ontario County Fair. Visit the animal barns, attend one of the 4-H competitions, and see the 4-H project exhibits. Tractor pulls, demolition derby and shows on the stage. If you like amusement rides, spend some time on the midway. It’s old-fashioned family fun. County Road 10, Canandaigua, NY.
Celebrate Independence Day in the Finger Lakes! Fireworks will be on display throughout the region. For more information on dates and times, go to visitfingerlakes.com/july-4-fireworks or call
Finger Lakes Visitors Connection at 585-394-3915.
Enjoy the spectacular views and a great meal aboard the Canandaigua Lady. Take a cruise on this 18th century replica paddleboat — a must do while you are here. Lunch and dinner cruises, afternoon excursions. Relax and enjoy a beautiful ride. Steamboat Landing, 205 Lakeshore Dr., Canandaigua. 585-394-5365.
Take the family for a day of water and fun at Roseland Waterpark! 58 acre waterpark with a giant wave pool, raft ride, Adventure River, two body flumes and tube slides. Roseland Waterpark, 250 Eastern Blvd., Canandaigua. 585-396-2000.
Head down to Inspire Moore Winery on July 6th for an all day event featuring BBQ vendors, live music and Blaufrankisch tastings. Enjoy the food vendors, craft vendors, food and wine pairing demonstrations and special barrel tastings. Inspire Moore Winery 197 N Main St, Naples 585-374-5970.
Sonnenberg Gardens Moonlight Stroll series is here! The gardens of Sonnenberg are always a sight to see, but especially under the moonlight. July 5, 12, 19, 26 and Aug. 2 from 8pm to 10pm, the Moonlight Stroll Music Series features live music, wine by the glass and refreshments. Gates open at 7:30pm. Admission is required. 151 Charlotte Street, Canandaigua 585-394-4922.
Come visit Geneva’s newest addition, the Lake Street Filling Station Winery. Once a 1950’s Texaco filling station, it has been brought back to life and is now pouring Finger Lakes wines and much more! Lake Street Filling Station, 82 Seneca St, Geneva, 315-781-5483.
Be sure to check out the Hill Cumorah Pageant. Watch this beautiful religious story on an outdoor 10 level stage, twelve-tower lighting, state-of-the-art sound system, Hollywood special effects and cast of over 650. July 12, 13 and 16-20, 9pm. Hill Cumorah Visitors Center, 603 State Route 21, Palmyra. 315-597-5851.
10th Annual Musselman & Mini-Mussel Triathlon. A multi-sport event for athletes 13 & older on Seneca Lake. Swimming, biking and running events. July 12-14. Seneca Lake State Park, Routes 5 & 20, Geneva. 315-636-4268.
Don’t miss the Stuart Horse Trials, an Olympic-style equine event featuring dressage, natural obstacle course and show jumping. July 11-14. For a complete schedule, visit www.stuarthorsetrials.org.
Stuart Horse Trials, Murray Rd., off County Rd. 41, Victor. 585-657-6980.
Putting a finger on the Finger Lakes
Summer is in full swing, which is a good excuse to get out of the city. Head south on Route 64, down toward Canandaigua Lake, through Bloomfield, past Bristol Mountain Ski Resort (marvel at the green summer slopes), and stop before you reach Monica’s Pies and downtown Naples. Near the “Y” where Route 64 meets Route 21, sits the Brown Hound Bistro. If you haven’t yet dined there, you’re in for a treat. Simply put, it is one of the best restaurants in the region.
Availing itself of locally grown produce and meats, Brown Hound takes its cues from the season and consistently turns out delicious food. In some restaurants, that might lead to an air of superiority or pretentiousness — not here. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and there to make you happy and comfortable. The interior of the space is warm: Tuscan yellow walls, natural woods, braided rugs, paintings from local artists on the wall. The restroom, tucked under the stairs leading up to the kitchen, is an homage to the restaurant’s namesake, owner Trish Asher’s departed hound, Henry.
Don’t let the occasional pompous patron scare you off. (Guy who groused that his favorite out-of-state microbrew wasn’t on the menu: understand where you are and order the local beer.) If you do, you’ll remove the possibility of having a meal with tastes, scents, and colors so memorable that dishes might bubble into your thoughts at unexpected times. For instance, driving on 490 last week, I found myself longing for a slice or floral-scented apple, deep rose in color, light rose in flavor, gently sweet and slightly firm to the teeth that I’d enjoyed at Brown Hound two weeks earlier.
The rose petal-apple conserve in question is paired with a customer favorite: pan-seared yellowfin tuna with a scoop of risotto and a scattering of micro greens ($30). Like the majority of dishes on the menu, it’s both familiar and unexpected. Each meal’s star attraction is a well-prepared and satisfying rendition of a classic dish. But it’s in the sides where you’ll find the surprises: lovely shocks of color, texture, and flavor that, together, make eating at the Brown Hound both reliable and delightful.
Take the spring house salad ($7). It’s not a plate where you’d expect novelty. In some restaurants, it’s thoughtless: iceberg lettuce, shaved carrots, limp tomatoes, and maybe some corrugated cardboard posing as croutons. Here, however, the house salad plays with sweet (apple, maple) and sharp notes (red onion, shallots, vinegar), making you eager for the next bite. The lively and fresh greens are sourced just miles down the road from Ambrosia Acres Family Farm. And then there’s the scattering of diced and candied bacon. Food writing is oversaturated with declarations of love for bacon, but when it’s good, it’s very, very good. And when its smokiness is enhanced with a touch of sweetness and a bite of pepper, it’s wonderful.
Similarly, the artisan cheese plate ($11) features a mild chevre, muscular blue, and sharp cheddar cheeses — solidly appetizing choices for a Finger Lakes restaurant. Baguette crostinis, crunchy and flavored with olive oil, are eager to be piled with the cheese and — more importantly — the house-made onion marmalade. The marmalade has the texture of chutney: onion slices stand firm against the jam-like background. Cooked for a long time to develop a deep caramelization, the onions are sweetened with brown sugar and perked with ginger and (apple cider?) vinegar. Brown Hound is looking into to bottling the marmalade for sale; home cooks — myself included — will be lucky if it happens.
A few words about chicken. The menu’s chicken breast ($24), locally sourced from Sweet Grass Farm, is plump and juicy, but it’s still a chicken breast. What interests is its pairing: carrot sambal. Unlike South African or Asian carrot sambals, this is pureed smooth but retains a sambal’s spicy, warm heat. It’s the star of the entree, elevating the entire dish in the way a bold necklace can enliven a simple black shift dress.
A few more words about chicken: the chicken Moroccan ($38) is a shared plate, with two robust thighs and drums, a heap of couscous studded with dried fruits, and romesco sauce. The chicken’s skin is a deep tawny and crisp, almost as if fried, and the meat is succulent. Here, again, the sides shine: fat, sweet dates recall the dish’s namesake, while the romesco sauce reflects the piquancy of red peppers.
Lest I’ve made you think that there’s only poultry on the menu, pay attention to the Incredible Wellington ($32), a fillet of beef topped with Lively Run Cayuga bleu cheese and wrapped in puff pastry, served with bordelaise sauce, mashed potatoes, and mushroom duxelles; and the spring risotto ($21), showcasing seasonal vegetables and parmesan cheese.
If you go for brunch, make an effort to sit out on the wrap-around porch, shaded by a brick-red-and-white-striped awning. (Don’t worry if it’s chilly; the bistro has fleece blankets on hand to keep you warm.) Among my favorites are the French onion soup ($5), a hearty crock that gets the balance of salty and savory with crunchy and cheesy just right; the Sweet Grass lamb burrito ($11), featuring grass-fed lamb topped with tomato, red onion, and Lively Run feta; or the French Hill Toast ($7), made with homemade cinnamon-swirl bread and served with local Sugarbush Hollow maple syrup. (Go early if you want to order that last dish; I’ve often found that the restaurant runs out of cinnamon bread if I get there after 11:30 a.m.)
And last, but not least, if pastry chef Emmy Wilk’s toffee blondie sundae ($6) is available, order it. A blondie is a soft and chewy bar cookie flavored with vanilla and brown sugar. The blondie here is studded with toffee and the sundae is drizzled with salted caramel sauce for a sweet, salty, buttery, chewy treat. Even if you have to eat dessert after breakfast — even if you ate the Omega pancakes ($5 for a short stack) made with buttermilk, Birkett Mills’ buckwheat, ground flaxseed, and blueberries — who cares? It’s worth it
Sometimes it truly is the little things that make me happy…
For the nearly nine years that I have been the Innkeeper at the 1795 Acorn Inn, guests have gotten two keys upon arrival; one for the front door and the Dining Room door and one for their respective rooms. Since the Inn is locked at all times, these keys made it possible for guests to come and go as they please. Always in the back of my mind though was the thought that although these keys say do not duplicate, they (name not to be mentioned) duplicate them for me as needed. So, why couldn’t guests get them duplicated and come back at any time? I’m not thinking of the kind, respectful, wonderful guests that I usually have the pleasure of meeting…
So, years ago I decided to make the investment and purchase Schlage locks with keypads. This year, when my fabulous brother Roger was visiting, he installed them for me. And, now that I have gotten adept at programming and deprogramming, my vision is complete.
Upon arrival, guests are asked to provide a four-digit code that would be easy for them to remember. Their code is programmed into the locks and voila… they can come and go as they please. Upon their departure, their code is removed from the system. Simple.
For those guests that cannot make our regular check in hours of 3:00 to 5:00 pm and have made arrangements in advance of their stay for a late check in, we can input their code of choice on the day of their arrival. Once inside the Inn, they are able to follow our simple self-check process and use their personal code for their entire stay..
So far, so good. And, I am happy to say, another improvement completed.
Take a stroll through the nine gardens at Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion or visit one of the many historic homes and mansions in Ontario County, replete with period furnishings and architectural grandeur of the Victorian, Federal and Greek revival periods. Sonnenberg Mansion & Gardens, 151 Charlotte Street, Canandaigua. 585-394-4922.
During the month of May head over to Geneva, NY and check out the Rose Hill Mansion and Johnston House both once working farms in the Finger Lakes.Take a step back in time to explore these historic estates and learn about historic farming techniques. Contact the Geneva Historical Society for tickets, tours and more! Located at 543 South Main St, Geneva 14456 (315) 789-5151.
Join the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection as it unveils the photography, art, local products and people of Ontario County that helped to make the happiest Visitors Guide ever! Finger Lakes Visitors Connection is showcasing travel happiness in Ontario County with the 2013 Travel Happiness Art Show. The public is invited to the Opening Reception on May 10 from 5 pm to 7 pm at Hazlitt Red Cat Cellars in Naples. For questions contact FLVC at (585) 394-3915.
The Ganondagan State Historic Site is now open! Learn about local Native American History at the site of a 17th century Seneca Village. Make sure to visit the self-guided hiking trails, the 1670 bark long-house replica and Visitors Center. 1488 New York 444 Victor, NY 14564 (585) 742-1690.
The signs of summer are starting to appear! Head to the northern shores of Canandaigua Lake and kick-off summer at The Inn on the Lake – Sand Bar! Featuring live music weekly and great food specials! If you have a boat in the water, feel free to dock along the waterfront at the hotel to take in the sound waves! 770 South Main St. Canandaigua, NY 14424 (585) 394-7800.
Hit the links at Ravenwood Golf Club in Victor. In 2003 Golf Digest Rated it the #5 “Best New Public Course in America.” On Mother’s Day, Mom plays golf for free! 929 Lynaugh Rd., Victor. (585) 924-510.
Spring is here and summer is near! Time to hop on a bike and ride around the lakes! Bike rentals are available at R&E Bike and Skate, 168 S.Main St., Canandaigua, (585) 393-5680 and Geneva Bicycle Center, 489 Exchange St., Geneva, (315) 789-5922. Or, bring your own bikes and check out a fabulous resource at the 1795 Acorn Inn… Take Your Bike, a list of bike trails in the Finger Lakes.
For years I’ve been looking for new chairs for the Angell Room. Not too big. Just the right color. Comfy. Matching. And the list goes on… But, I’ve never been able to find the ones I want. I have two chairs and beautiful, expensive fabric that I purchased a while back sitting in my office. The plan has always been to have new slip covers made. But, I can’t find anyone to sew them. So, I thought I would take on the task myself. How hard could it be, right? I plow the driveway in the winter, clean out the gutters, re-screen windows, do minor repairs, sew curtains and draperies for the canopy beds… I can surely sew slipcovers. Then, just when I’m not looking, I find the perfect chairs. Yeah, I’ve heard that one before.